I have decided to make a series of posts about my enemies. The list is numerous, so this might be a series of a few million. I will touch on topics as wide-ranging as Ice Man blocks to insects, or Gohans to Spyders.
My mortal enemy the STINKBUG is a relatively new opponent. Some may say “servo, didn’t you defend an insect in FF court just a year or two ago?” They would be correct, however it sure as hell wasn’t a stinkbug. The first thing you must know is that they are invaders from China. Probably imported on a crate of toys with lead paint and milk tainted with melamine. The invasion began in Allentown, PA and has been spreading from there. I lived a wonderful, stinkbug free life for many years until I moved to southeast PA to finish college. And then, it happened.
One bright sunny morning you will wake up from a restful sleep only to find tens of stinkbugs crawling all over your windows and curtains. You will be only marginally annoyed with it at this point, until you have to crush one that is walking on your skin or in your clothes. The hideous, disgusting smell penetrates your skull and makes your brain want to escape. You learn despite everything you must remain calm and capture them for a free outside release.
Eventually they will be all over your home and workplace. Blindly crashing into lights to make a loud annoying sound, walking all over your feet while you are in the bathroom, and making you look a fool when they fly into your face and your reflex is to slam it to the ground. The worst thing of all is that they have no real predators here. Secondly, they can seemingly fit through any space in a window. And first of all, your workplace windows and light fixtures becomes a mass grave for them until the cleaning people finally get rid of the stockpiled corpses.
For those of you still out of reach for the stinkbug, enjoy your time. Eventually they will come. And they will never leave. I’ve been living with them for 5 years and it is hell on earth. My life mission is to program a nanobot to seek and destroy all stinkbugs until the earth is free from their wretched grip.
So I decided to continue my procrastination and play a little Phantasy Star IV this morning. Picking up from last time, I returned to confront the principal about why there were monsters growing in the basement.
Damn right I’m upset
I guess this guy somehow thought I wouldn’t uncover the source of the problem I was sent to fix. This is where a greater villain seems to be introduced (through a flashback), Zio. I couldn’t quite piece together what the hell was really going on, but it sounds like the principal was scared to do anything about Zio’s evil plot.
Just a little generic
Now I was tasked with going to find out what happened at some place or another. You know the drill. Well, there was one catch. Alys is brutal.
I decided to explore the building and town some more, and look at what I stumbled upon:
Really? Did I need to be reminded of that? How did it know? Ignoring this prophecy from a seventeen year old game, I continued on my merry way.
Alright, I’ll admit that made me laugh. After fulfilling my role as a spyder, I wandered outside of town. I ended up fighting a few different monsters, including sand worm creatures. I made my way to a town called “Mile”, and they informed me that the place I was looking for was to the northeast. The plot thickens.
What began as a conflict over the transfer of consciousness from flesh to machine escalated into a war which has decimated a million worlds. Wait, wrong game. For all three or four of you reading this, I need no introduction. However, if you happen to have accidentally found this site, I will grant you a brief look into who and what I am. I am the resident renaissance gamer. What does this entail? I’m not really sure, but I just wanted to incorporate that into my opening remarks.
pH’s LttP feature inspired me to embark on a similar effort. Since he’s playing my favorite game, I thought I might return the favor. He’s probably giddy with excitement right now, considering I’ve begun to play Phantasy Star IV. Prepare for a journey of excitement, intrigue, drama and scandal. You will laugh with me, cry with me, and love with me. Together our bond will be strengthened around this feature, and perhaps we will gain a better understanding of what it means to be human.
Or, just have fun while I analyze small details of a rather old Genesis RPG.
The first thing I immediately noticed is that the sound quality is inferior to that of SNES games. Moving on from the obvious, indisputable conclusion anyone will arrive at from turning on any Sega Genesis game, I watched the introduction. Archaic and mysterious writing was thrust upon me, and if I was a liberal arts major, perhaps I would analyze the meaning of these words in the greater context of human civilization. Alas, I’m not that useless.
The introduction mentioned a “mother brain”. I’m sorry, but this only brings one thing to mind: the brain creature from that Captain N cartoon I watched as a child. This thing scarred me for life, just look at it.
I began the game. Some girl named Alys brought me to another town, while I sat there and watched. My character, Chaz, lamented that he had been “wandering” and that he became separated from Alys. How this happens, I’m not sure, I guess this guy is a child. However, after meticulous searching, I found Alys standing across the same room I was in, impossible to miss even for a blind man. It looks like I had “wandered” around this empty room and somehow ended up several feet away from my hunter partner. I can assure you, this won’t happen again.
We went to visit the principal. Already, nostalgia began to creep in. No, not because I’ve ever played this game, but because I grew up playing Phantasy Star Online. There was a principal in that city too. To make a short story even shorter, this guy told me there’s evil monsters in the basement that I need to go vanquish. Somewhere along the line he got angry we were asking questions, and managed to clone himself multiple times.
Shocked, not expecting such a turn of events, I began to make my way to the basement. I talked to various NPCs about environmental problems and declining birth rates, immersing myself in a world of politics and philosophy, until I finally saw the entrance to the basement. A suspicious looking fellow, Hahn, blocked the way.
As you can see, this guy is fist pumping the air, while looking meek and unsure of himself. Apparently he wanted to investigate the problem but was too much of a wuss to go alone. The resident badass hunter, the girl, made him pay us 100 meseta to come along. What a bitch.
We entered the basement together, walking in a straight line in order to gain a clear tactical advantage where we use the woman as a human shield. This strategy has been recently employed in the real world.
Ah, yes, good ol’ monomate. I don’t even need to experiment with what this does, because I already know from PSO. After stealing from the basement, after all, why not just take whatever I please, I encountered my first enemy.
I’m pleased with the format of the battles. It’s evocative of RPGs like Dragon Warrior, but I also get to see my characters. After a handful of battles, I noticed the pathetic males of my group were nearing death. What to do, I wondered. I navigated to a “TECH” menu and saw I had something called RES. Having played WoW so much, I assumed this was a resurrect spell. There was no harm in trying it out though, right? I used it on my characters and their health was restored. Interesting.
We continued along, pilfering the possessions of this academic institution, while encountering large monsters that seemingly appeared from nowhere. My low level male characters even gained a level. Eventually, we reached this scary area. This is starting to feel like Dead Space.
We walked north. My hands began to sweat. What could be awaiting me at the top of this room? Would I survive this ordeal? Will Donald Trump run for president? I saw the hideous beast, tentacles sprawling every which way from its weird tentacle tree face. Throwing caution to the wind, I walked up to it and tried to talk to it. It refused diplomacy, so the long, epic battle began.
This creature, IGGLANOVA, I think, never really attacked me. It kept fissioning itself into another mob, which I would instantly kill. It was here that I began experimenting with my combat TECH. I had Alys cast “Shift” on Chaz, which increased his attack power enough to be able to one shot the monsters the boss was creating. This allowed Alys and Hahnz to get to work. I had Alys cast Foi over and over on the boss, as this was a single target spell that did 28-29 damage. I realize that this relative number means nothing to you, but it gives some legitimacy and depth to my feature by pretending it does. Hahnz was generally weak and pathetic, only doing about 8 damage in his attacks. Chaz continued to be a beast, even though, after we destroyed this boss, Alys criticized his sword swing. Listen, lady, Chaz did as much DPS as you and he’s not even half your level. He even had a crit that set a new record for the most damage I’ve ever done in this game, which is quite a feat. The crit caused the screen to flicker with the intensity of a thousand suns, and I naturally felt pumped inside.
All of this from fifteen or twenty minutes of gameplay. A long, meandering journey lies ahead of us, and together, we will conquer this game. Eventually.
I remember when I was in 7th grade, and during the time period I was playing Final Fantasy VII, my grades improved dramatically. That was the greatest of proof against my parents’ theories that video games hurt my grades. And it wasn’t just because I knew different words that only grown-ups should have. I genuinely believe it helped kick-start my brain into divergent thinking, subconsciously forcing me to problem solve and search for new ways to achieve things. I mean, that’s not the only time in my life that this occurred. I think most RPGs did this for me, at least in middle school. But, hey, maybe it was just that video games kept me from being distracted by girls. shrugs
As a child, I remember being proud for using haste in a sentence. Heck, I was the only person I knew that could tell you what a panacea was. I learned more history from Age of Empires II than I did my entire high school life. I’m not going to say that video games make you smarter, but I think sometimes they can be a catalyst for welcomed learning, parallel to formal education. Video games can be a productive form of entertainment…unless it’s WoW. If you’re playing WoW then you’re screwed, sorry.
I have never played The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. I cannot explain this. However, in order to make amends to the entire video game community, I can offer this one thing: a chance to relive the experience of playing it the first time, by following my child-like gameplay and subsequent clumsy analysis of my own ongoing first time. We will laugh together, cry together, cheer together, DIE together. Every time I mess up, I will let you know. You’ll get all of my successes and all of my failures. All of my video game ignorance will be entirely transparent.
I’ve decided to use the name PATTY for my character. It’s a beautiful name, really. We will follow young Patty into the depths of dungeons, or whatever else is in this game. I know there are hearts, lanterns, and swords. I also know there are bushes that I can pick up and throw, which is wildly entertaining in itself. I think the appeal stems from my repressed fear of bushes as a child; I always dreaded losing a basketball in some thicket of thorny hell. I think I might have been more courageous if I had known giant, shining rupees would have appeared if I destroyed them.
The story is pretty simple. There’s a plead to Patty’s Uncle from the princess about her being held hostage in some underground prison below the castle. So, instead of doing what the Uncle says, which is to stay home, Patty decides to go off on his own anyway. I found a lantern too, which apparently shoots fire two feet in front of me. Despite the rain, I’m running around picking up bushes and throwing them and accidentally wasting my lantern fuel. That’s okay though, since later on there’s plenty sitting around when I kill rats and snakes and stuff in the Hyrule dungeon.
Upon finding the secret entrance to the underground tunnel into the castle, which, by the way, I didn’t even feel like finding but was so annoyed by the constant reminders every 30 seconds that there is, indeed, a secret entrance, that I had to stop the madness. Once you find it, despite all the bush-throwing, how can you resist going in? So you meet your Uncle all hurt and stuff in the first part of the tunnel, but I don’t see how. Did he crawl back from his defeat? He gives you a sword and shield, and Patty is supposed to go on.
The enemies in this place are knights, and later on, you face the aforementioned rats and snakes. They’re all easy to kill. There are some parts where you have to kill the enemy so they can drop a key to the door. All you have to do is some pillar hugging. (See left) SCHWFF! ROUND THE CORNER!!! Also, the boss was amazingly easy, especially after getting the boomerang, which basically paralyzes the enemy. I pretty much cruised through this first dungeon, which makes me think this game is easy. EASY!